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My mother used to use a german expression something like Saumaga to call my father a big pig when he overate. Is anyone familiar with that expression?

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    @MartinRosenau: The wikipedia article you linked to describes some food. This is not what Elaines's mother meant when she talked about her overeating father. – Hubert Schölnast Oct 28 '18 at 9:02
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    @MartinRosenau It is also (or even rather) the Swabian pronunciation. The Palatinate of it is that in that German region a stuffed pig's stomach is a traditional dish. – Christian Geiselmann Oct 28 '18 at 9:46
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Saumaga is a word in some German dialect. The standard German version of Saumaga is

Saumagen

This is a composite noun, composed of:

  • die Sau
    sow (also "sod" in BE)
    a female pig
  • der Magen
    stomach, maw, craw
    a muscular and holow organ in the gastrointestinal tract between the gullet and the small intestine of all mammals and many other animals.

So, a Saumagen is literally the stomach of a female pig. But in fact the gender of the pig doesn't really count. It's just that farmers preferred to keep sows over boars because they are easier to handle, so a typical farmer who had only 2 or 3 pigs, only kept sows.

And sows/pigs are known to eat really everything that is edible, and they can eat large amounts of food. So the stomach of this animal is able to digest literally any food, and in any amount. And when you say, that a person has a Saumagen, then you say, that this person eats everything that is edible, and that this person also eats large amounts of food without feeling sick.


There also is some food that is named "Pfälzer Saumagen" (literal translation: "Palatinate Sow Stomach"). You can find a description of it on Wikipedia. But it's not this food that your mother meant when she talked about your father. It was the meaning described above.

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    Objection! The word Saumaga is Swabian (or at least it is also Swabian; I do not know the proper pronuncation in Palatinate dialect, but I believe it is rather Saumage, with a slightly more e-ish last vowel). You probably are biased because of the notoriosity of the dish of that name which is usually associated to the Palatinate region. – Christian Geiselmann Oct 28 '18 at 9:48
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    Boars are not much 'less easy' they also taste/smell much less appealing in the pan or on the plate… For the meaning you describe Schweinemagen seems much more common. – LangLangC Oct 28 '18 at 10:25
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    Being from Swabia and having relatives in the Palatine, I must agree with @ChristianGeiselmann. – Stephie Oct 28 '18 at 12:13
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If your mother has Swabian roots, she’ll not be talking about the Palatine dish (the Swabian equivalent would be Schwartenmagen), but about the pig’s stomach.

Pigs were (and in some places of the world still are) a good farm animal for poorer people. They could be kept in small stables and be fed with whatever was available, typically kitchen scraps and other stuff that would otherwise be discarded as not fit for human consumption. They also will eat a lot, if available, and grow and gain weight quickly.

In the Swabian dialect, you claim someone has a “Saumagen” if the person eats what the average person would have difficulties to stomach, be it simply a lot of food, very fatty or otherwise hard to digest dishes or weird combinations.

It’s also (albeit more rarely), used figuratively for people that will not be bothered by verbal insults and just “swallow” them.

  • Schwartamaaga! (And, yes, very on-the-spot explanation!) – Christian Geiselmann Oct 29 '18 at 3:29

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